The Temples of Jerusalem

history and video files

The crowning achievement of the reign of Israel’s third monarch, King Solomon, was the erection of a magnificent Temple (in Hebrew: בית המקדש‎, transliterated as Beit HaMidkash) atop Mount Moriah in the Holy City of Jerusalem (in Hebrew: יְרוּשָׁלַיִם‎).

The descriptions of Solomon’s Temple, contained in the Tanakh (in Hebrew: תנ״ך‎) (the “Old Testament” of the Holy Bible) suggests that it measured sixty cubits (25.686 metres or 84.5 feet) long, twenty cubits (8.562 m or 28.167'), and thirty cubits (12.843 m or 42.25') high. The Hebrew cubit of that era was equivalent to 0.4281 metres or 16.9 inches. 1 Kings 6:3 attests that the porch was twenty cubits (8.562 m or 28.167') wide and ten cubits deep (4.281 m or 14.083'). The porch’s height remains in question; its height is not specified in Kings, but 2 Chronicles 3:4 alleges a height of 120 cubits (51.372 m or 169'). A minority of scholars take the 120-cubit height at face value, but most believe that the number was incorrectly transcribed or was otherwise corrupted, and that the height of the porch and façade was closer to thirty cubits. In either case, 2 Chronicles 3:4 states that the porch was covered, inside and out, in gold. An excellent thesis about the Temple’s dimensions in relation to the norms of the region is available by clicking here.

His Majesty incurred great debts in constructing the Temple. From his late father’s dear friend, King Hiram of Tyre, King Solomon purchased not only the services of many Tyrean artisans and architects such as Hiram Abif, but the cedar with which to finish the Temple’s interior as well. The finest stone was quarried and precisely cut to give the illusion of seamlessness without mortar. Labour was conscripted from all Israelites, requiring month-long tours of service. Overseers numbered 3,300. To repay his debts to King Hiram, King Solomon ceded twenty towns to Tyre.

Upon the Temple’s completion, it was consecrated by the High Priest and his subordinate Cohenim and Levites, with much sacrifice and prayer. King Solomon ordered the Temple open to those of other faiths and begged G-d to answer the prayers of the non-Jews’. “Thus all the peoples of the Earth will know Your name and revere You, as does Your people Israel; and they will recognise that Your name is attached to this House that I have built.”

animated tour of the First Temple, constructed by Grand Master Hiram Abif under the guidance and financing of their majesties, Kings Solomon of Israel and Hiram of Tyre.

Click here to visit Mishkan Ministries’ a high-detail architectural model of the First Temple, with extensive narrative, citing the relevant Biblical passages.

Click here to take the 3D Bible Project’s self-guided virtual tour of First Temple, built by Kings Solomon & Hiram and Grand Master Hiram Abif.

animated tour of the Second Temple, built by Zerubbabel under Kings Cyrus & Darius, © Video Vision

Click here to take the Temple Institute’s self-guided tour of the Second Temple, built by Zerubbabel under Kings Cyrus & Darius.

engineering the Temples from the "Bible Tech” episode of Modern Marvels, © A&E Television Networks